Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game Awards: Buccaneers vs. 49ers

Who got this week's Game Ball?


Game Ball:** There were plenty of strong candidates, but for the second game in a row the ball goes to RB Jacquizz Rodgers. One game after recording his first career 100-yard game in the Monday Night win over Carolina, Rodgers outdid himself with 154 yards on 26 carries, averaging 5.9 yards per tote. He ran hard between the tackles all afternoon, consistently adding extra yards onto the ends of his runs by running through San Francisco defenders. Rodgers' 45-yard breakaway in the second quarter set up Roberto Aguayo's first field goal, and his nine-yard run down to the three in the third quarter set up Mike Evans' second touchdown catch. Tampa Bay gained 513 net yards of offense on the day and Rodgers allowed the attack to stay balanced, with 249 on the ground and 264 through the air.


Play of the Game:** The most interesting of Jameis Winston's three touchdown passes was Mike Evans's point-to-the-sky five-yarder in the third quarter. However, the most crucial was likely Russell Shepard's 19-yarder on third down late in the first half. The Buccaneers had rallied from 14 down to pull to 14-10 and had a chance to take the lead just before halftime. However, the drive almost stalled at the 19 when Jameis Winston's pass to Shepard in the left corner of the end zone was just out of reach. Shepard moved to the other side of the formation on third down and Winston looked his way again, darting a hard pass to the receiver on a short post. Shepard hauled it in with a defender hanging on his left arm and the Bucs took a lead they would never relinquish. Said Winston: "Russell, he made three critical catches on that drive and ultimately he finished it off with a touchdown."


Turning Point:** Safety Bradley McDougald turned the tide with his second-quarter interception, the Bucs' first takeaway of the game. At the time, the visitors were trailing, 14-7, after having secured their first points three minutes earlier on Mike Evans' four-yard catch. The 49ers were threatening to answer right back after Colin Kaepernick quickly moved them over midfield. However, when Kaepernick scrambled left and tried to hit TE Vance McDonald on the sideline, McDougald read it and cut in front of the pass at the Bucs' 27. A 45-yard run by Rodgers followed on the next play and the Bucs turned the takeaway into a Roberto Aguayo field goal. That was part of a run of 27 unanswered points that put Tampa Bay up for good.

It Was Over When: Barber broke away for his 44-yard touchdown run with about four minutes left in the game. The Bucs were in good shape at that point, up by two scores, but the 49ers still had reason to hope if they could get one more stop and a quick score. Instead, Barber put the Bucs back up by 17 and the game was essentially in the bag.

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